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Frugal Grocery Shopping Tips For the Frugal Buyer

Updated on May 29, 2014

Thoughts to Ponder

Depending on which survey you pay attention to, the average American spends between 13%-15% of their income on food. To say the least, that is a sizeable chunk of change.

Obviously, in an ideal frugal world, you would grow and raise all of the food that you need, but for an apartment dweller in Green Bay, Wisconsin, that probably is not going to happen. Therefore, we need some strategies when we are dealing with grocery shopping. Our goal, in Frugal Land, is to spend as little as possible for any expense, and food is no exception.

What follows, then, are a few things for you to think about; a few suggestions and tips that might get you out of your local Albertsons or Safeway having spent a little less money.

Crude video but it makes sense

Understanding Management Mentality

The goal of any business is to make money. Can we all agree on that? And since you, the consumer, are the one spending money, the goal of the store management is to take as much of your spending money away from you as possible. There, it has been said, the cold, hard truth of retail! I know it hurts to read that, but give it time to simmer in your mind and you will see the truth in it.

It is you against the store management in a fight to the finish, and may the best person win!

Now that the truth is known, you will begin to understand what follows. Grocery stores play tricks on you. They realize, as do you, that every consumer must buy certain staple products. In other words, there is a minimum that most people will buy. The store’s goal is to increase your minimum, and they do that by enticing you, and by playing on your impulses. The minute you walk into a modern grocery store you are being played like a fine harp, and the store management is the musician in control of the notes.

If you can get past your denial of that fact, that you are being played like a Stradivarius, then maybe, just maybe, this article will help you.

Typical floor plan
Typical floor plan | Source

Store Layout

Remember, most shoppers have basic items that they will buy each week. Those items include dairy, bread, produce, and meat products. Have you ever noticed that in most stores those staple items are either in the back of the store or along the edges of the store? There is a very simple reason for that: management wants you to walk past as many store displays as possible before getting to your staple items. They are betting on your impulse buying gene. They are betting that over the course of time, they can wear your self-control down and get you to buy more than you went into the store to buy, and time and time again they win that bet.

Have you noticed that occasionally, seemingly at random, your grocery store will re-organize the store and switch aisles for products? All of a sudden the Jiff Peanut Butter is no longer in Aisle 6 but rather in Aisle 10. Have you ever been curious why a store does that?

Yep, same reason! They want you roaming around lost like a hiker in Nepal in desperate need of a Sherpa guide. Since most shoppers will not ask for directions or assistance, but rather will walk the entire length of the store looking for that moved item, the store has just won, again, another battle of wits.

Beat the System with a List

How many of you make a grocery list before you go shopping? Now, how many of those people actually walk into the store and leave with only the items on that list? Marketing gurus are betting that you can’t do it, and again, more often than not, they win that bet time and time and time again.

They toss the bait out, then reel it in slowly. They are patient, and if they don’t get a bite after the first cast, they keep right on casting until someone buys that six pack of Coke or twelve-pack of toilet paper that you pass on the way to the gallon of milk you came in for.

The only way to beat impulse buying is to make a list and not vary from it at all. Put on blinders, like your grandpa’s favorite mare, and walk directly to the items you need. Do not look left and do not look right. You are a heat-guided missile and you will not be detoured for the Ho-Ho’s. Need vs want…remember it!

So much to choose from
So much to choose from | Source

Looking High and Low for Better Prices

So, you stroll into your favorite store, determined to buy one item and one item only. You locate the product you need and suddenly you are confronted with forty-five different brands of that one item.

If it is pricing you are concerned with, and what frugal buyer is not concerned with pricing, then do not buy the items sitting at eye level. Those are, most likely, the most expensive. Look to the top shelf, or look to the bottom shelf; that’s where you will find your bargains.

Remember that everything in a grocery store is strategically placed with your money in mind; it is a battle of wills between you and the grocer, and may the best man, or woman, win!

Loss Leaders

In case you are not familiar with the term, loss leaders are items the store will sell at cost or below cost to entice you into the store; their hope is that once they have you in the cozy confines of their store you will not escape without impulse buying.

Loss leaders are great deals but make sure you only buy the loss leader. If it is an item you use often, like toilet paper, and there is a limit on the number you can purchase, take your kids with you and have them buy the limit too.

My mother was like a general preparing for battle when she went grocery shopping. She would scour the ads, mark down the best deals, and then drive to the different stores picking up just the great deals. She never wavered in her determination, and her willpower was the equal of any store manager. We could all learn something from my mother’s example. However, driving an extra five miles to save fifty cents on a tube of toothpaste is stupid, so try to avoid that at all cost.

Buy bulk
Buy bulk | Source

Buy in Bulk

I have been a lover and a hater of Costco for quite some time now. I love the prices and I hate fighting the crowds. I love the free food and I hate getting my shins hit by wayward carts.

There are tremendous savings in buying bulk; it just depends on how much storage space you have in that apartment you rent in Green Bay, Wisconsin. If you are single, and you live in a studio apartment, buying fifty rolls of toilet paper and twenty-five cans of chicken noodle soup might be irresponsible. However, if you are the mother of four children, buying bulk can and will save you big bucks. Just make sure you take a calculator along with you to figure out the cost per unit; no sense in buying bulk if you aren’t saving money in doing so.

Coupons and Rebates

If you are not rushing out to the mailbox on Wednesdays to get your coupon flier you are missing out on some great deals. Cut out the coupons you need and keep them organized. If you can find one of those coupon organizers at a garage sale, buy it immediately. Organization is the key for good couponing, and it can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.

Rebates, on the other hand, offer a challenge this writer is not willing to take, but if you are made of stronger stuff than I am, then for God’s sake go after the rebates on items that you use. Most people shy away from rebates because it requires filling out a form and mailing the form with your receipt…and then waiting for the rebate to arrive. If you are organized and patient you can save big by doing so.

Seasonal Sales

Why is it that most people only eat turkey on Thanksgiving? It is a great meal that provides tons of leftovers, and you can buy turkeys very cheap in January. Take advantage of the overstocked items during the different seasons.

You can usually find great deals on frozen vegetables in March and April, just before the fresh veggies hit the stands. Pay attention and save!

Couponing anyone?

Get to Know Your Grocer

Not all grocers are money-grabbing monsters intent on leading you to bankruptcy. Next time you are in the store, chat it up with the produce man or the meat cutter. You might just find a secret comrade in arms and they might just give you a heads-up about future great deals. I have known several bread merchandisers over the years and they have steered me to great upcoming deals on bread. Once armed with that information, all I had to do was be patient and wait for the deal to begin. Insider information works in places other than the stock market.

That’s It for Now….happy Shopping!

You are now armed with enough information to save you hundreds of dollars in 2013 and beyond. The next step is yours and yours alone. Be determined! Be skillful! Be vigilant and be patient!

The next time you go to Safeway and come out with only the items on your grocery list, look at the store manager and smile. He or she will most likely smile back and give you a little salute. They recognize a skilled opponent, and they will respect your shopping skills. Just remember, though, that they may have lost the battle but they are more than prepared to win the war.

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad you liked it, Pharme451. Thank you!

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      Pharme451 3 years ago

      Very nice site! cheap goods

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      John, I honestly don't know. I'm not very tech savvy my friend. Good luck.

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      Johnd751 3 years ago

      Hey! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with Search Engine Optimization? I'm trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I'm not seeing very good gains. If you know of any please share. Many thanks! dcgkdfdgedgc

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathry, I have never worked in a grocery store, but I know I would probably gain ten pounds in a month. I don't need to be around that kind of temptation. :) Thanks for the visit and have a great weekend.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      This is a very useful hub. It applies to anyone, since most people go grocery shopping. Very sound tips.

      Up until a few months ago, I worked in the food section of a big store, and it was very interesting to see what sales we had, and what new products came in. But wow, I spent more money on food than if I had not worked there, despite the employee discount. Being around food all night is not always a good thing!

      I love being familiar with a store, because I can go there, armed with a list, and zoom down the aisles without glancing at the tempting items. It doesn't take long, and I am on my way before too long. I also tend to avoid the snack aisle, especially if I am hungry!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Lady! Turkey is indeed a great cost-cutter if you buy at the right time of the year. We also make soups from the bones. I appreciate you adding to this.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 4 years ago from West By God

      Oh I have to add one more thing for you. Turkey is the cheapest and available on at certain times of the year. I will buy 2 big birds to cook. One of them I will cut up and freeze. Now I ca have a turkey sandwich much later then just at Thanksgiving or Christmas. I will do the same with ham. I also cook down my bones and make soups and stock. I have 2 hubs about that and how to do it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you again Pinkchic; buying bulk just makes good sense when you can do it.

    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Voted up and useful! Great tips here. I try to buy bulk where I can.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lady, those are great tips. We do that too but I don't know many who do. Thanks for reminding me and adding to this conversation.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, in our family it is Bev who needs supervision. I can walk in and out having bought just the things I went in for...Bev, not so much. LOL Thank you once again!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Don, thank you! It's good to see you again and I owe you a visit. There is money to be saved out there if we know how to look for the opportunities.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Okay, so you can stop writing about me now Bill...I am the one who needs blinders like my grandpa’s favorite mare...I can't pass up a bargain! I go in the store for three things and come out with three bagfuls! Coupons...well, I try so hard. I cut them out, organize them and routinely leave them home. Great tips though Bill.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 4 years ago from West By God

      Great information there. I used to use coupons but don't anymore unless it is a great deal. Most times, in my opinion, the coupon is for the most expensive brand and depending on that brand the store brand is still the better option. Yes I make a list and most times I do stick to it. Buying in bulk is the best way to go, if you have the space. I buy the large packs of hamburger, take it home and divide it up, make meatloaf and burgers and such and then pack them up in freezer bags, except for the meat loaf, and put them in the freezer. I do the same with potatoes when they are the cheapest. I cube them and freeze them. It makes it a lot easier when you have soups or something that you need cubed potatoes for. Just get them out of the freezer. It saves time in the long run.

    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 4 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      billybuc- Excellent and timeless information for everyone who wants to save a little more when they enter a grocery store.

      I do a few of these things when I shop, but it is great to see them all listed in one place as a reminder that saving money is a battle and you need the right information to win it.

      Voted UP and Shared!

      DON

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Specialk...family of nine??? Wow! Way to go, whatever system you use. My uncle and aunt had fifteen kids and I still shake my head at how they did it. Wishing you a Happy New Year, and thank you!

    • Specialk3749 profile image

      Karen Metz 4 years ago from Michigan

      Great tips! I use them all when I shop for my family of 9. If I didn't, my grocery budget would be out of this world. Thanks for the tips.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cyndi, I love it....go left and work backwards....sheer genius! That would beat the system for sure, and I love that you use a shopping list and stick to it.

      Thanks lil' Sis!

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      I missed this one. Yep, I was onto their game a long time ago. So, I make a list, use coupons and shop backwards. That's another little trick they do: they assume that most people will start at the "right" - go to the produce section and move along the aisles from there and they strategically place items based on where they think you're walking. So, I start out in the dairy section and work my way over. I go once every two weeks (and trying to expand that to once a month) because the less you're at the store, the less you're tempted. Awesome hub!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Turtlewoman, they are clever devils, aren't they? LOL Thank you my friend!

    • Turtlewoman profile image

      Kim Lam 4 years ago from California

      Very interesting ...and brilliant as well. It's a good thing I do most of my grocery shopping at farmers markets. We're lucky to have those running even in the winter here in Ca. But occasionally I do have to step in to Safeway for some ice-cream....and I still get lost..and find myself with some beer in the cart. Those darn clever management team...

      Voted up !

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PATTI, that is great! You had me laughing with that, but great suggestion. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

    • totallyPATTI profile image

      Patricia-Ann Morrison 4 years ago from Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

      Excellent, Billybuc! As an apartment-dwelling person, I use my food/supply storage as actual furniture, lol! The bases of bookshelves, my home-made rowing machine stand, etc. You'd be surprised at what you can store :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dwachira, you are so right...the little we save on a day becomes a fortune. Perfectly said my friend! Have a wonderful weekend in Kenya, and thank you!

    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi Bill,

      It is very true, i was wondering why i have to walk all the way to the back of the store only to pick dairy or bread. Now i see the reason, these stores' mission is to squeeze as much money as they can from us. I always make a point of buying greens and fruits on my upcountry visits, the little we save on a day becomes a fortune in a year. Buying items on sale or off demand can save a lot too. Voted up, useful and more.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dabble, I go in with a disguise. :) Thank you for the visit!

    • DabbleYou profile image

      DabbleYou 4 years ago

      lol. With all the tips you've just shared, your greatest enemy now is the sore manager. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I never stepped inside Costco until I met Bev; now it makes sense for us to go there once a month, but no more than that. Love your other suggestions!

      Sleep well my friend, and thank you.

      bill

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      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, buying in bulk does not always suit the budget of a family of two based on the income of one. However, if you shop the perimeter of the grocery store, you will hit the fresh food requirements of the food pyramid: fruits, veggies, meats, fish, poultry and dairy.

      For your paper goods, shop the dollar stores. Some take manufacturer coupons. Don't scrimp. Make sure the products you buy are environmentally and septic (very important if you are on septic!) safe.

      The key is to eat fresh and deplete your pantry/fridge/freezer before going to the store. Make do with what you have on hand. Cook from scratch and be creative!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Patch, I agree. It is always helpful to know the whole story. Thank you for the visit.

    • patchofearth profile image

      patchofearth 4 years ago from somewhere in the appalachian foothills

      This seems a pretty accurate allusion-- grocery stores as battle grounds and shopping as war. It is always best to know the enemy and have a plan.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hyph, thank you kind lady! I think it helps to know what the stores are up to; better defense and all. :)

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      What a great Hub! Using a list and refusing to budge from it is crucial. So many people truly do not realize it is a battle for the pocketbook. You did a wonderful job educating us all(who doesn't need a better battle plan?). Thanks for the info, the humor and the savings.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      CM, feel free to link this to yours, and thank you! I personally hate grocery shopping, but together, Bev and I can do it and remain sane! :) Thank you!

    • CMCastro profile image

      Christina M. Castro 4 years ago from Baltimore,MD USA

      I feel that I have become an expert in grocery shopping. I have had weeks that are stressful when I can not shop for the entire week's worth of food in one day. Of course, pay day is short lived if I spend more than a half hour in the grocery store. Short lived meaning I end up getting more than I planned on. Changing grocery stores can be a challenge too. That takes up more time than I had planned. I would like to link your hub here to a hub I wrote in regards to a grocery store that went out of business that effected my commute to complete my shopping task. I enjoyed this hub very much since it is a major activity in my life I have liked and disliked in so many ways.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, I'm glad you like my style; I'm not sure I know how to change it. LOL Your husband and Bev....two of a kind in a grocery store. :) Thank you my friend.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I like your style, Bill: "The only way to beat impulse buying is to make a list and not vary from it at all. Put on blinders, like your grandpa’s favorite mare, and walk directly to the items you need." This is what I do to my hubby when he goes with me! Enjoyed the read, but the tips are excellent. Voted up.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lisa, I like that term...."strategic shopping." That says it all now doesn't it? Thank you for wading through the comments and leaving one of your own. I appreciate it, and I appreciate the sharing.

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Elizabeth Rayen 4 years ago from California

      Holy shop-ola! I feel as if my comment will get lost among all the wonderful and helpful comments already left! Not that it hasn't been said previously, but this is a great hub Bill! I love strategic shopping. Also having a background in marketing, I would also calculate the high cost items at eye level. It's amazing how much mind manipulation is done in the major chains. What I get a kick out of is how to beat them at their own game..and though many people won't believe it... it CAN be done. All ya gotta do is follow through on your research and read great articles such as this one! KUDOS! ♥ Thumbs up and shared!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wesman, what we don't know......the psychology behind retail strategies is really pretty fascinating. The major chains, like WalMart, or Safeway, or whatever, spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on psychological studies on how the mind works and how to best attract buyers to give up their money for unwanted items. I learned all this when I was a wine and beer salesman....and of course my mom learned it during her twenty years of working retail.

      Thanks buddy; I appreciate you stopping by.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      I'm sending this one to my Mom.

      What all you've said here about staples and store layout...OH MY!!!!!!!

      I'm wondering why it is I'd never realized the truth in that before, but it is so undeniable...so very real. Of course you'd already stated just why that was so with the cold hard truth of retail.

      Of course I'd forever noticed how all the impulse buys...i.e., things nobody ever needs - are nearest the register/check out.

      I can only wonder now why I'd never taken the concept further, and thought of the opposite end of it - placing the most needed things far far away!

      I spend a very large portion of my income on food....and I'm a really thin fella too. I just won't eat crap anymore. I'm all for meats, cheeses, fresh vegetables, a few select sauces...some spices...and that's it.

      I halfway feel like a "sinner" for buying frozen vegetables and canned vegetables....but the truth is those are needed for a busy working lifestyle...where there isn't always the time to keep fresh vegetables on hand, or prepare them.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Aurelio, I agree totally! Convenience stores do have their place in our society, and you just named one of their advantages. Thank you my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Taleb, thank you! Those of us who have worked retail understand quite well what the stores are trying to do; I'm just trying to raise awareness so that others have a fighting chance.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I hate it when stores rearrange their shelves all of a sudden. It makes lists sorted by aisles uselesss. When I want something quickly and immediately, I go to convenience stores -- it costs more initially, but in the long run saves time and money because I don't have to go wandering down grocery aisles to find stuff, and am not tempted to buy other things. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • Taleb80 profile image

      Taleb AlDris 4 years ago

      Your way of taking such this issue was fantastic.

      Thanks for the hits, tips & advices which you summited.

      I voted "Awesome ".

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tammy, I do too! We have one in town, and the prices may be slighter higher, but for me it's worth it. Thanks for dropping by, as you always do.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      This is excellent advice. I think I may try this. I believe in supporting local grocery stores!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Daisy, that is interesting that you do not have couponing over there. I had no idea! I wonder why that is? Food is getting quite expensive here, and now produce has gone up because of the drought over the summer.

      Anyway, best of luck to you and thank you.

    • daisydayz profile image

      Chantele Cross-Jones 4 years ago from Cardiff

      Great tips there, a few that will definitely work anywhere in the world too. Food shopping in the UK is so expensive! We don't have any form of coupon system here really, just the odd 5-10% off ones from previous items. I watch extreme couponing and get quite irrate that we can't do anything like that over here. i would so be one of those people, to help my entire family live a little better financially.

      Great hub!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rich, that is a great idea! We might have to incorporate that into our shopping.

      Thank you and I hope your holiday was special as well. I ate so much I can barely breathe. :)

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      Rich 4 years ago from Kentucky

      Bill, Another great post! These are indeed many of the secrets utilized by the merchant to get you to spend more money. One thing my wife and I have started doing is going to the Dollar Store before the grocery store. Many things like foil, beans, paper goods and such are great bargains there. Then, when you go to the grocery store, you can actually see the money you've saved, and give you reason to follow the process again and again. Great job, my friend! Happy Thanksgiving!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mel, truth be known, I hate grocery shopping too, for all the reasons you mentioned. :)

      Thank you so much my friend; have a wonderful day/evening.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ahh, Martin, you discovered the secret to shopping! Right on my friend! Happy Thanksgiving!

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      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      I'm one of those people who normally get suckered into buying something 'spur of the moment' when I go shopping. I hate grocery shopping - it's not so much the act of doing it, but dodging other trolleys, finding parking, dealing with rude cashiers...that bothers me. I feel like I need a "treat" to get through it. I make a list and am usually very good at sticking to it, but I need to be stricter about it. This just the article I needed to read for this. Excellent tips here, Bill! Thanks so much :) Voted up and sharing.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. I used o save a lot by eating before shopping.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Liz, and I am thankful for you as well. I just find HP amazing; I have such great friends all around the country. If I ever take a road trip I'll be visiting people in every state. :) Happy Thanksgiving, Liz, and I was glad to see Rachel too.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Agusfanani, thank you, and that is a wise move with the credit card points.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 4 years ago from Indonesia

      Thank you for those very useful tips and information for grocery shopping. I sometimes use my credit card points to get discounts.

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      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      I forgot to say happy Thanksgiving to my lovely friend in the other corner of the country. I'm truly thankful for you, Bill!

      When I scrolled through here a second time I saw Farmer Rachel! I'm so glad she checked in. I've missed her!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, you make me smile. :) I'm just trying to help you save enough money to go on a cruise. It appears to me as though you are well on your way. Thank you as always and Happy Thanksgiving my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      SG, I love it! You have officially won the Frugal Shopper of the Year Award. :) I was going to include keeping a spreadsheet but I thought it would be too complicated for people to understand. I am truly impressed.

      Have a very Happy Thanksgiving my friend, and thank you!

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Such right on spot information! I actually keep a spreadsheet on the cost of items I buy at the grocery store. I have the item, brand, size, price and the date that I priced the item. When I get the grocery sale adds, I can compare prices and see what is REALLY on sale. When I find a lower price, I updated my spreadsheet with the name of the store and the date. It is time consuming to get started, but updating it is easy. When I stock up on these items I usually have coupons for them also. This is how I realized that a certain un-named W-MT store, jacked up the price on the items that they knew people were going to buy for Thanksgiving. Many items were advertised as though they were on sale, however I had purchased the same thing last month for much less. We grow most of our vegetables and I now have 2 deer in the freezer. That saves us a lot on our grocery bill! Voting this up and awesome! Great hub, everyone should read!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I wish we had a Costco in my area. I shop at Walmart. We did have a Buylow but they couldn't compete with Walmart and went out of business. I do shop from a shopping list and i rarely deviate, but when i shopped yesterday for my Thanksgiving feast, i passed by this beautiful shelf that had the most beautiful croissants. I thought, humm this would be a delicious sandwich with left over turkey so i added it to my list. I'm working on it Bill, i just ' ain't there yet. Really you do have great ideas and the next time i hope to have my blinders in place..Cheers my friend..

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Debbie, and the same to you and yours!

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      Debbie Pinkston 4 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      Bill, you'd be surprised at the things you know that you think are general knowledge, but many people don't know. Sometimes people have heard something before but have pushed it to the back of their minds, so reminders are always nice. You have reminded me to enter the stores fully aware that they want my money!

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and your lovely wife.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glad you liked it, Deb! Veggies really are expensive lately, aren't they? I can't wait until Spring when we can plant again.

      Have a very Happy Thanksgiving and thank you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Debbie, I almost didn't write this article because I figured everyone knew about it. LOL Glad I did!

      Have a very Happy Thanksgiving and thank you!

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      Debbie Pinkston 4 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      This is great advice Bill! You had a great example in your mother and you carry on her wise shopping habits. It helps me to realize when I walk in a store to remember what you said: They're after my money and it's my job to keep as much of it as I can!

      Thanks for a great and helpful Hub.

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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Awesome and up. My mother was a vigilant shopper, too, so I learned her tricks. Now that I buy meat RARELY, I don't deal with that high expense. The veggies are getting almost as expensive, though. Grow what you can when you can. Parsley, tomatoes, peppers and other things like that take up little room, and you know where they came from. Just like your own sprouts, which don't need to be planted in the ground. Fantastic article, Billy, for great peace of mind.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rebecca, at corporate headquarters they actually do studies and research to determine the best locations for staple items....just so we will buy things on the way to the staple items. It's all a big game and we are the pieces being moved on the board. :)

      Thank you and have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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      Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Wowwww, billybuc this so funny, fantastic and true. I have never thought about why I have had to trudge over a football stadium sized supermarket to just get a loaf of bread and milk. And another point. That's why the "Jiffy Marts of America " can get by with charging exorbitant prices for those everyday items like bread and milk.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much Rajan! I will return the favor my friend. Have a wonderful day in Jalandhar!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, there is no way I'm making a comment to that. LOL I know when Bev gives me a list she gets exactly what is on the list....nothing more and nothing less. One thing I have going for me is I hate shopping, so I make it in and out as quickly as possible.

      Thank you Jo!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, you would do quite nicely in our little frugal world here in Olympia. Yes, we have our own bags....car pool? we only have one and I never get to drive it. :) Happy Thanksgiving my friend!

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      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Hi Bill, yet another fantastic hub on buying frugally. These people are in business to fleece the buyer and the steps you outline for shopping are vitally useful.

      I'm linking this hub to mine on tips on shopping for healthy food.

      Thanks for a wonderfully useful and practical hub.

      Votes up/useful/awesome.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Billy, we've got to start using some reverse psychology, you are so right. I usually text my old man a list to shop on his way home from work, he is in and out in a flash, with only what's on his list. When we shop together or when I go on my own the bill is always larger. I think women are much more likely to fall for those little tricks.

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      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Great....excellent....extremely helpful......READ and STUDY this!! All of these tips are winners!

      (Above comments submitted by: THE EXPERT & snob of a shopper)

      Save...catch those sales, clip those coupons, read the labels....never shop hungry....send in those rebates....use a calculator...bring your own bags....carpool.....store foods properly, ........GO! You got it!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz, you could never write a ridiculous statement. LOL...although you came close with that last one. :)

      Sweet potatoes are cheap here too; as for corn...forget about it! The day I spent one dollar for two ears is the day all other food will have disappeared from the store. :)

      Listen my faithful and forever fan and friend, I hope you have a wonderfully great Thanksgiving down there in Dunedin, wherever the heck that is. Think of us, getting pounded by the rain, as you sit in the sunshine and sip your umbrella drinks. :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Efficient, believe it or not, I'm the best at grocery shopping in this family;

      Bev likes to give in to those impulse purchases,and I am pretty stubborn when it comes to those.

      Thank you for the visit and have a very Happy Thanksgiving.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joseph, I can't avoid frugal. I'm surrounded by it and have been since birth. LOL Oh well, there are worse things in life, right?

      So great to have you back writing and commenting. You have been missed.

      Thank you my friend; don't eat too much turkey.....oh heck, why not?

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      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Great points, Bill! Sweet potatoes are crazy cheap right now, something like 33 cents a pound here. You could cook up a bunch of them and freeze portions of mashed sweets that you can enjoy for the next several months.

      A sad thing is that the stores have sales that are usually on the items that people eat more of and make them eat more. Let me clarify that ridiculous sentence: Products like chips and cookies and crackers and sodas are buy one get one every week. These foods stimulate your appetite, and you end up eating more of them than you would if you made a meal using whole, natural foods.

      I love how you included the store floor plan! They're out to make a buck just like any other business; it's important to keep that in mind.

      Your faithful friend and forever fan,

      Liz

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      Efficient Admin 4 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      This hub is a great reminder to me that it takes real discipline to sit down and make a list of groceries and stick to the list. I notice when I do this very thing I save a ton of money at the grocery store. Thanks for reminding me to be viligent to "stick to the list". Voted up and across.

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      Joseph De Cross 4 years ago

      Amazing strategy from grocery stores. Well, businness is businness as usual. Your tips and advice is right on for the holidays. I feel sorry for the banks and credit cards! Now we know your mom genetically instilled that frugality in you, and Bev took over! Lol! Have a happy thanskgiving my friend!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, you win the Frugal Shoppers Award this week. That's fantastic that you do all those things. It makes such a huge difference when spread out over a year. Well done, and Happy Thanksgiving to you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shoot, Maria, I was hoping for funny as well. LOL You are indeed a wise shopper my friend. I could take a few lessons from you and I agree, name brands are highly overrated and over-priced.

      Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Maria! I am sending hubs and love your way.

      bill

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      Maria Jordan 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Bill,

      This is cool and I also love making a game out of what I can save...I plead guilty to coupons (necessary only, no crap) and I love those rebates...I get all kindsa excited for a buck! Is this why I love HP??!!

      Why do folks insist on name brands? The grocery store brand is exactly the same quality, sometimes even better and can be 25% or more lower in price...

      I agree with a comment above that Costco is not always the best deal... I did an exercise where I only priced...I resisted any purchases at these times...Costco, Staples, Office Depot and two chain grocers... Each place has some things cheaper and some things higher. I definitely have your Momma's mentality with that.

      My very favorite day trip with hubby or a pal is to go to our Farmer's Markets in Lancaster from May to October...oh wow, the cost is ridiculous and the quality is like no other...freeze lotsa stuff to have on off months.

      Yeah, I am so on to these tricks and stick to my guns. Voted UP and all but funny. Happy Thanksgiving to you and dear Bev. Love, Maria

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      Melissa Propp 4 years ago from Minnesota

      This is a fun one Bill! I am not a list person EXCEPT when it comes to grocery stores. My husband and I make a list, we go through the sales and coupons before we walk through the doors, and we stick to the list! I have a favorite website that goes through all the coupons (online and in the paper) and then goes thru the weekly sales at the grocery stores and lists out all the best deals for prices on on your groceries at each of the stores. It is a huge time-saver for people that can't devote hours to coupon clipping. I've been meaning to do a hub on that site, since I haven't seen it mentioned on hubpages yet...Happy Thanksgiving!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB.....LOL.....here is my secret to saving money....leave Bev at home. She is the perfect example of an impulse buyer. I have to drag her down the aisles because she slows up to look at everything. Going into the store for three items take twenty minutes with Bev. :) However, since she puts up with my nonsense, I don't much care about her slow shopping experiences.

      Thank you my friend; I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving in Arkansas!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rachel, I have great respect for procrastinators. LOL Where have you been young lady; you have been missed. I suppose you are going to tell me that you have been busy working the farm. It's always some excuse. :)

      Have a Happy Thanksgiving my young friend, and thank you for the visit.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, I love that...thank you for adding to the discussion. I had not heard of Small Business Saturday but bravo for the idea. I love small businesses and we do exactly what you were talking about.

      Great tips; thank you for the visit and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, I owned two retail stores, and I can verify that you can make money and be ethical. Too bad most retailers don't figure that out. :) Thank you my friend! Now it's time to go write a hub or two.

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      Rachel Koski 4 years ago from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota

      Oh, grocery shopping *shiver* This is a great hub, Bill. And of course, the Great Procrastinator in me has failed to hit the food store for Thanksgiving yet. I'm butchering the turkey tonight, and the potatoes have long been dug out of the ground, but I don't grow cranberries, green beans, wheat or anything else that I need for the rest of the meal... so I'll be fighting the crowds tonight! Hope I get good deals :)

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      Deb Welch 4 years ago

      Bill this a perfect Hub for Thanksgiving. I just began working in a very large chain supermarket and many spend a fortune for everything without a list. I use a list and try my hardest to stick by it - yes - I do leave with a few extras. I shop at many stores - they still have specialty stores such as bakeries,meat shops,organic foods and others. Why spend all your cash or plastic or check in one place? Spread that money around like fertilizer - small business should be seeing more customers - the economy really needs that idea. I thought I read where after Black Friday is Small Business Saturday - I will do this. Useful, Funny and Interesting - Up.

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      Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

      Dear, dear Bill. I love it when you teach us how to beat the system. I have serious issues with retail selling. Having managed a retail store, I understand that you have to make money but I also learned that you could make the same amount and remain ethical. That's what retailers in general have not learned. Great tips, great hub!

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      MizBejabbers 4 years ago

      Good for telling trade secrets, my friend Bill. My son had a 15-year career successfully managing a liquor package store, and he taught me his secrets to perfect placement. I still used to be one of those people you targeted in this hub. However, between the high grocery bills and the spoiled food I was throwing out, I finally wised up, but, I still rarely go into a food store without coming out with something not on my list. I’m just more careful and have to really want the extra item I put in my cart. (Oh, we really are out of crackers, lucky for us our brand is on sale!) Another catch 22 is coupons.

      When I had children at home, we saved money by using coupons. However, with only two people in the house, buying three boxes of cereal at a time just to save 50 cents isn’t practical for us. And, as you pointed out the fallacy, I rarely store-hop to save on specials. It has to be big savings and the store has to be right on the way before I do that. The day-old bread store is on my route home, but it is owned by Wonder Bread, and we don’t know what its fate will be after this bankruptcy.

      The few items we buy in bulk usually come from Sams Club, but then only if their bulk unit price is cheaper. That is something we have learned to watch. Sometimes I can buy six cans of the same name-brand vegetables at Dollar Tree cheaper than a six-pack of the same at Sams. And I envy you – Oh, how we miss Safeway! We haven’t had Safeway in Arkansas in a number of years.

      But do you know how I save the most money when I grocery shop? I leave Mr. Bejabbers at home!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great suggestions Patricia! I ran out of room in this hub; there was quite a bit more I wanted to add, but you just took care of a couple things for me. Thank you my friend.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Austin, grocery stores would go broke if all of the customers were like you. :) Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving.

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      Lela 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      I rarely go down the inside aisles anymore. Or I go down them just to get exactly what I want which is preferably on sale.

      Thanks for the tips!

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      2patricias 4 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      This is a great hub, full of good advice.

      We are lucky to live in a region of England where there is a choice of grocery chains where one can order on-line and have the food delivered. Tricia (the other Patricia) was on to this before me, and explained that once I mastered the relevant web site I would save time. What I also found is that I save money - mostly for the reasons you have given in this hub.

      A few tips I have found from shopping inside grocery stores : 1. if your store has a deli counter, do some price comparisons. In one of our nearby supermarkets the fish is cheaper at the fresh fish counter than it is in the prepacked section. (We live by a fishing port) 2. Figure out how much you really want. If you live alone, buying a few slices of ham from the deli counter may be more economical than buying a sealed package of several slices that you won't be able to use.

      I'm going to add a link to your hub from my Supermarket Shopping List Hub.